August 13, 2006

More questions than answers after first scrum

Scrimmage Statistics

BOULDER, Colo. �" The beginning of the Buffaloes’ first preseason scrimmage looked very similar to their three spring scrimmages.

The defense was a step ahead, taking advantage of every miscue by the offense. The offense threw four interceptions and failed to reach the end zone on each of it's first six drives.

But as the scrimmage wore on, the offense began to develop a rhythm. The offense was particularly affective on the ground, gaining a total of 303 rushing yards on 53 attempts, an average of 5.7 yards per carry. Dual-threat quarterback Bernard Jackson led the way with 128 yards rushing, including a long of 62 yards.

“We obviously need to get the game time tempo going a little bit earlier,” head coach Dan Hawkins said after the scrum. “It took the guys [on offense] a little bit of time to warm up. But I think we’re building. I think we’re getting better every time out. Other than Friday afternoon’s practice, I think we’ve sort of made an upward push each time out and that’s good.

”It’s tough to come away from a scrimmage and have that many turnovers and say [the offense] is a lot better [than it was during the spring] but they definitely made some strides. They did a good job running the ball.”

Sunday’s scrimmage did little to decide the quarterback battle. A day after Hawkins gave an edge in the race to Brian White, senior James Cox seemingly narrowed the gap. Cox led the way with 89 yards passing.

”Tonight, James played better than he’s practiced; which was good to see,” offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mark Helfrich explained. “Brian just got off to a tough start. Bernard did some good things; he showed us some of the things he can do.”

“I thought James probably moved the club and did some things in total better than those other guys,” Hawkins added. “But then you also look at the fact that Brian was going against the number one [defense] which is obviously an upgrade in terms of the personnel.”

Defensively, cornerback Terry Washington led the way with nine tackles. Linebacker Thaddaeus Washington added seven stops and defensive end Abraham Wright recorded six tackles. Wright also led the defense with two quarterback sacks.

“I thought the defensive line was pretty aggressive out there,” Hawkins said. “They got a significant push. Abe (Abraham Wright) was good coming off the edge and Alonzo [Barrett] got in there, and although he didn’t play as many snaps, he put some pressure on the quarterback.”

Safety Joel Adams had a big day, with two interceptions and a touchdown saving tackle on Jackson's long run. Terrence Wheatley and Jordon Dizon also recorded an interception.

Additional Scrimmage Notes:

*** Mason Crosby nailed a 66-yard field goal during Sunday’s scrimmage. The NCAA record for the longest field goal in a game is 67 yards. Crosby also made field goals from 37 and 33 yards out, but missed a one wide right from 44 yards out.

*** Safety Ryan Walters (thigh) and offensive lineman Erick Faatagi (knee) did not participate in the scrimmage. In Walters’ absence, Ben Burney ran with the first team defense at safety.

*** Will there be some changes on the depth chart following Sunday’s scrum? “We’ll definitely take a look at the film and make some changes,” Hawkins stated. “For us, obviously quarterback is unique and offensive line is unique in terms of the depth chart but for all those other positions, it’s a case of finding what they do well and factoring them in. It’s not so much [being] number two z-receiver or number three z-receiver. If he does this well and that well, then let’s get him in a position to do that.”

*** Cody Hawkins engineered a long touchdown drive which was capped off by a two-yard Corey Nabors touchdown run. Hawkins finished the scrimmage with 65 yards on three-of-eight passing.

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